Most of you have probably seen the Galaxy commercial that was released last month with none other than Audrey Hepburn in the lead. Many were surprised by Audrey’s resurrection. Coincidentally this year marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved actress’ death and she finds herself in the limelight once again.
But how did this commercial come about?
First off chocolate brand Galaxy had to ask permission to use Audrey’s image from her estate, in this case her two sons Sean and Luca. Both agreed, but for different reasons. For Sean it was his own personal recollection of shopping for candy with his mother, who was a huge chocolate fan. Luca was inspired by Audrey’s teenage years in Nazi-occupied Holland during the Second World War. He said: ‘The first piece of real food she was given by the liberation army was chocolate. That stayed in her DNA in a way. To her, it was the taste of freedom’. With the release of the commercial they let out a statement saying that their mother mother would be ‘proud’ of her new role, adding that she ‘often spoke about her love of chocolate and how it lifted her spirit’.
Next up was making Audrey look modern, as if she had filmed the commercial today. This was the biggest challenge. Production company Framestore initially searched for a Hepburn look-a-like. The doppelganger’s face was scanned using a facial action coding system that allowed Framestore to extract the muscle movements and textures needed to build a more faithful, CG Hepburn. But their facial scans proved rather inexact. ‘Facial scanning usually provides exact shapes of the person who needs to be recreated,’ Framestore explains on its site, ‘but in this instance, the scans only provided a template based on the double who, although she looked similar to Audrey Hepburn, was nonetheless a different person with different nuances.’ As a result, they had to build a 3D model of the iconic actress, using footage from her film catalog as well as old images and documentaries.
According to the company, Hepburn’s feline eyes and trademark smile proved most difficult to recreate, largely because they’re her most instantly recognizable features. Although Framestore originally chose the double because of her eyes and planned constructing Hepburn’s face around them, the team soon realized that ‘full CG was the only way to get it right.’
You can see the result here: